Summary: Microsoft’s obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place
IS IT true that Microsoft loves Linux? What a silly question, but some people and even GNU/Linux vendors actually entertain the possibility that Microsoft loves GNU/Linux, even in the face of heavy and overwhelming contradictory evidence (we gave plenty of evidence to the contrary on Saturday, in a 6-part “Microsoft Hates Linux” series).
As Zacks put it earlier today, “Microsoft has come up with a way for Android users to install a Windows 10-based ROM on Android devices that would take them over and offer Windows-based software offerings (Cortana, Office and Skype).”
Bridget Carey from CNET (part of CBS) said that “Microsoft is getting friendly with Android.”
Apparently then, patent extortion and bribes is “friendly”. We are very much annoyed to see Microsoft-friendly media (paid by Microsoft) characterising extortion and bribes as Microsoft “getting friendly” or “playing nicer” with Android. It’s a massive lie. There is also no mention of what Microsoft is really up to in the article “Microsoft’s Android and iOS assault”. It mentions nothing about coercion using patent extortion. Microsoft decided to sue over software patents (mere claims) with their lawyers (e.g. against Samsung), that’s how they strike so-called “deals” for “select Android devices”. Tools of blackmail are not about “deals” but about abuse. Three years ago Pegatron was extorted by Microsoft, so no wonder it too got ‘co-opted’. Pegatron, Samsung and so on (even the Microsoft-connected Dell) are not surprising members of this blackmail-driven ‘pact’; Microsoft likes to target large distributors of Android using lawsuits. It’s Microsoft’s new strategy, there is no newly-found love.
Then there is the Cyanogen case, which nicely shows how Microsoft works by proxy. The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journalmisleads on Google ‘antitrust’ while Murdoch himself now openly invests in this anti-Google and pro-Microsoft company called Cyanogen. We wrote about it earlier this week. There is a new article titled “Why people are wrong about the world needing an Android that Google can’t control” and what it fails to mention is that Cyanogen sells Android users to Microsoft. That’s the business model. Cyanogen is now a tool of Microsoft and this article says that “[a]ccording to sources familiar with the matter, future devices taking advantage of Cyanogen OS might actually ship out with Microsoft Bing and Office apps instead of Google Search Drive.”
In our IRC channels MinceR wrote that “Cyanogen shows its true colors as yet another front for Microsoft,” citing this article. The goal is to destroy Android and to make it another Windows. Microsoft will try to make it less visible by changing the terms of financing, keeping Cyanogen at a short distance to save face. Microsoft is now paying them handsomely but secretly, as an applications (via OEMs) partner rather than an investor. Here at Techrights we wrote about 4 articles about it in the past 1.5 weeks alone and prior to that we warned about Cyanogen for its proprietary software agenda, which is also apathetic towards privacy. Cyanogen has nothing to do with control, privacy, freedom etc.; it just tries to turn Android into Windows in exchange for cash. Bill Gates’ friend Rupert Murdoch now funds it personally and Microsoft was going to fund it too before Murdoch’s media published an exclusive article about it, drawing criticism rather than glee.
Mark said that Cyanogen is “a colorless, toxic gas,” according to Wikipedia. “Cyanogen is a highly toxic compound” “Lethal dose through inhalation typically ranges from 100 to 150 mg. [...] cyanogen is very toxic, as it readily undergoes reduction to cyanide, which poisons the cytochrome c oxidase complex, thus interrupting the mitochondrial electron transfer chain” (see Wikipedia for more).
“Why in the world,” remarked Mark, “would anyone name their software product after a deadly poison? Perhaps their subconscious mind is warning people.”
In part 6 of our "Microsoft Hates Linux" series we wrote about Microsoft’s manipulation of the press, which causes proprietary software from Microsoft to be characterised as “open”. Even Linux Magazine fell for it; it’s part of the effort to paint Visual Studio “open”, “free”, or whatever.
India’s Government, as we mentioned at the time, currently formulates policy on adoption of open source software (several more articles are appearing right now to cover this right now) and that’s why Microsoft pretends to be “Open Source”. It doesn’t want to be left excluded, so it needs to pretend to be part of the Open Source crowd. It’s achieved by means of hijack/capture/infiltration and unless the public antagonises this, Microsoft will get its way. █
What’s rather troubling is that with more patent lawsuits (Microsoft is still suing Android/Linux using software patents) Microsoft might have more such 'partners' (extorted parties) on the way, not to mention bribed ‘partners’ [1, 2]. Cyanogen got caught opening up to money from Microsoft because they got coverage from Rupert Murdoch-owned media (Wall Street Journal) and interestingly enough it is now Rupert Murdoch who provides funds to this company which turns Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ (Microsoft software pre-loaded). It isn’t too shocking given Rupert Murdoch’s close relations with Microsoft and with Bill Gates, let aside hishatredofGoogle.
According to this report, Cyanogen “has secured $80m (£54m) in funding from the likes of Twitter, Telefonica and the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.” CBS says “Cyanogen raised $80 million in a series C round of funding led by venture-capital firm Premji Invest, the company announced on Monday. Twitter’s private-investment arm, Twitter Ventures, as well as Qualcomm, and even media bigwig Rupert Murdoch participated in the funding round. In total, Cyanogen has raised $110 million since 2009.”
As we pointed out even years ago, Cyanogen is neither about freedom nor privacy. At the moment it’s about pre-loading Microsoft software (surveillance-centric) from Microsoft. It’s not hard to see whose interests are being served by Cyanogen. █
Summary: A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft’s arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google’s (and users’) detriment and beyond regulators’ range of visibility
LAST month we said that Microsoft was reportedly using patent blackmail to pressure Samsung into becoming a Microsoft peon. We were later proven right and Microsoft’s booster (one of very many who now work for CBS) Mary Jo Foley put a positive spin on it, as if it was all kisses and roses. She continues doing that in her latest puff piece (framing that as nothing nefarious) where she says that “Samsung announced last month it would preinstall OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on the Glaxy S6 and S6 Edge. In the coming months — some time in the first half of calendar 2015, Samsung also will preinstall Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive and Skype on “select” Samsung Android tablets, Samsung announced today.”
Mary Jo Foley does not mention the patent case and settlement, does she? That would upset Microsoft, which is too busy portraying itself as a friend of Linux while it is suing Linux (using software patents).
Following Microsoft’s support for Cyanogen (again, do not be misled by retractions after getting caught) Microsoft’s booster writes that “[i]f the rumor mill is right, Android distribution startup Cyanogen might be next up to forge a similar bundling relationship with Microsoft. A recent Forbes report claims Cyanogen is “close to finalizing a wide-ranging partnership to incorporate several of Microsoft’s mobile services, including Bing, the voice-powered Cortana digital assistant, the OneDrive cloud-storage system, Skype and Outlook, into Cyanogen’s devices.”
Microsoft’s booster also mentions Dell. How convenient. Our Dell wiki pages would help remind readers what Microsoft has done to Dell not only on the Android front but on other fronts too. Dell is nothing but a vassal of Microsoft right now.
Samsung at risk of climbing back into Microsoft’s bed
Summary: Microsoft is reportedly pressuring Samsung, by means of expensive patent lawsuits, to turn Android into “Microsoft Android” (Microsoft spyware installed by default)
THE clown called Microsoft, which claims to “love Linux”, is still attacking Linux in a big way. Usually this is done more or less covertly, so enough “useful idiots” won’t see it and even defend Microsoft.
The other day we saw Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols addressingMicrosoft's attack on Androidthrough Cyanogen. Microsoft wants the world to believe that it ‘owns’ part of Android as it even claims to be ‘licensing’ Android, despite having nothing to do with Android development. Microsoft actively attacks Android from multiple directions and as Vaughan-Nichols put it:
The only thing that makes me take Cyanogen’s plans seriously is that Amazon and Microsoft appear to be looking into investing in Cyanogen to help create an Android software eco-system that’s not under Google’s control. But, honestly, even if Amazon and Microsoft backed Cyanogen to the hilt, would that really matter?
Both companies have tried, and failed, to produce a popular smartphone. Indeed, Amazon’s Fire smartphone lost approximately $170 million.
As for Cyanogen, its most well-known efforts to contract with phone vendors ended up with Indian phone giant Micromax and Chinese company Shenzhen OnePlus Technology locked in a lawsuit in the Indian courts. McMaster also made no friends for Cyanogen when he declared that “Samsung couldn’t build a good OS if they tried.” Since Samsung is the world’s number one Android phone vendor and Kondik’s former employer, this doesn’t strike me as a way to win sales partners and influence carriers.
Only Microsoft with Windows Phone has seen even 2 percent of the mobile market. That’s not enough. Even Windows Phone fans, given the lack of support for the platform from carriers like Verizon, have given up on Windows Phone. Major companies, including Chase and Bank of America, are also no longer supporting Windows Phone.
Cyanogen will fail just like similar attempts at disrupting Android at Microsoft’s behalf. But it doesn’t make the above any less harmful.
Samsung, based on some sources, is again leaning to Microsoft, which may blackmailing the Android leader (in terms of market share) into the agenda of “Microsoft Android” (extortion by Microsoft so as to get its way, as usual).
Engadget, for instance, wrote that “[q]uite a few smartphone fans will tell you that a Samsung phone’s Achilles’ heel is its software — you’ll find a ton of (frequently unwanted) apps and features that do little besides chew up space and slow things down. You may get to wave goodbye to that cruft when the Galaxy S6 shows up, however. A SamMobile source claims that Samsung is yanking a lot of its usual pre-installed bloatware, making the GS6 “amazingly fast” compared to a weighed-down phone like the Galaxy Note 4. The titles wouldn’t go away forever, but you’d have to download in-house apps if you did want them. Instead, the focus would be on a host of included Microsoft apps: Office, OneDrive, OneNote and Skype would give you some solid productivity out of the box. It’s not clear if the Microsoft deal has any connection to a recent truce with Samsung over patent royalties, although it wouldn’t be surprising.”
Samsung was the first devices company that publicly subscribed/signed up for Microsoft’s patent attack on Linux in 2007, so we wouldn’t be shocked if Samsung indeed decided to play ball for Microsoft, much as Nokia and Facebook had attempted (both Microsoft-owned, at least in part). █
Update: Mary Jo Foley is Distorting or Making Up ‘Facts’ About Microsoft’s Patent Attack on Android/Linux
An article by Paul Hill, linking to this widely-cited article, says that Microsoft is trying to hijack Android. He writes the following: “It looks like the two companies settled under the condition that Samsung will pre-load Microsoft’s apps on their Android devices.
“It’s likely that the next Samsung flagship smartphone will squarely try to appeal to corporate users as Samsung is already extremely popular with casual users. The device is expected to be launched on March 1st at Samsung’s annual ‘Unpacked’ event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona alongside the Galaxy S Edge, an offering with curved edges that look as though they may give quick access to apps, but for obvious reasons, this isn’t clear.”
It has been clear that Microsoft would try hard to make Android users dependent on OOXML and other Microsoft traps, but ZDNet, which is owned by CBS, continues to distort some facts and we must respond to that. The company’s Microsoft booster (one of many) Mary Jo Foley promotes the infiltration by saying that “SamMobile claims the Galaxy S6 will remove pre-installed Samsung apps like S Voice, S Health, S Note and Scrapbook. These will be replaced by Microsoft apps like OneDrive, OneNote, the new standalone Office mobile apps and Skype.”
Putting aside the crucial observation that this is not yet confirmed (see context above and bear in mind that SamMobile is scarcely known and hasn’t acquired reputation), she adds some nonsense to it all by not introducing the full history of Microsoft and Samsung, including that old patent deal which apparently was more to do with FAT than anything else. ZDNet posts a summary  linking to the booster’s  biased claims that add to the unsubstantiated smear, repeating the lie that has Microsoft portrayed as making billions out of Android, despite there being no concrete evidence (it’s most likely that scaring OEMs is the goal). Given the patterns of Microsoft propaganda in ZDNet, we are not too shocked to see this. We do need to respond to these perceptions that are propagated to damage Android/Linux. These perceptions are mostly created and spread by sources that are aligned with Microsoft, as we’ve demonstrated in past years.
The suit against Samsung over royalty payments for Microsoft’s patents has been settled. It involved payments to Microsoft that Samsung had stopped paying due to claims that the former’s purchase of Nokia’s handset business was a breach of the royalty agreement.
Neither company disclosed terms of the settlement.
Summary: Microsoft is spreading the myth that Android is not free (and is in fact very expensive) while its staff and boosters continue to deceive the public in other ways
ANYTHING that is repeated often enough, especially by seemingly credible news networks, may in turn be treated as truth without much further scrutiny. Microsoft is an expert at doing that. We gave dozens of examples over the years. This is sometimes known as “reality distortion”.
Claims about Microsoft profit from Android are overstated and often reliant on just a single person (with Microsoft ties) along with folks who repeat his claims (usually Microsoft boosters). Even some FOSS-friendly sites like Muktwaregot bamboozled, whereupon we explained to them that this is just another divide-and-rule approach, much like Novell’s. Microsoft wants the industry to believe that GNU/Linux (or Android) is not free and that any company that sells devices with GNU/Linux will be punished severely by Microsoft. Behind the NDAs and behind the illegal extortion there is often lots of smoke but not fire. Microsoft may charge a few cents for something like FAT patents and then issue a face-saving press release (imposed on the victim) to pretend there was some massive patent deal that taxes “Linux”. For “Android” it’s usually something like Microsoft Exchange (ActiveSync). We spoke about this with OIN’s CEO, so we say this based on a professional opinion from one whose livelihood depends on it and one who knows what happens ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak.
“Microsoft may charge a few cents for something like FAT patents and then issue a face-saving press release (imposed on the victim) to pretend there was some massive patent deal that taxes “Linux”.”Yesterday we found an ugly piece that’s basically a Microsoft propaganda piece. It’s basically propaganda from Microsoft’s ‘former’ chief patent counsel. The crudest pro-software patents site (IAM) quotes the biggest patent troll in the world, Microsoft (by extension), as saying that “US has not come close to abandoning software patents”. That’s a straw man; nobody said that the USPTO (or the US) is “abandoning software patents”. It just gradually cuts down, both at the examination level and at the court level. Evidence of this is very extensive. It just seems like Microsoft is afraid of losing its last remaining ‘product’: patent racketeering.
There is currently an ugly whisper campaign in the corporate media. It claims that Samsung paid Microsoft a billion dollars for Android. It’s simply untrue. Thankfully, Swapnil Bhartiya has already written a strong rebuttal. He says that “some news outfits are projecting it as if Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion solely for Android patents. Some headlines go like these – “Lawsuit reveals Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion a year for Android patents” or “Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in Android patent-licensing royalties in 2013″. These claims start and end with the headlines, you won’t find a single mention of ‘Samsung paying Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents’ in any of those stories.
“Organizations like BloomBerg and ReCode are refraining from such misleading headlines. The court filing is available publicly which you can read on Scribd. Microsoft says in the document that Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion in second financial year of their patent deal. From what I understand that is *the* total amount Samsung paid Microsoft under the deal. What we don’t know is what all is covered in these patents. The court document doesn’t specifically says that ‘Samsung paid Microsoft $1 billion for Android patents.’
“I didn’t find a single sentence making such a claim. Please correct me if I am wrong, I would appreciate that.”
Bhartiya correctly dubs this a “PR stunt” and he explains why: “It seems to be nothing more than a PR stunt. Every-time someone creates such a headline, Microsoft scores a PR point. Microsoft drops the keywords Android, Chrome and Linux every-time it signs a deal with a company even if the deal is about using ancient technologies such as FAT 32 in devices running Linux.
“We never heard of any other deal between the two companies (Samsung and Microsoft) so it can be logically concluded that the deal also covers the use of Microsoft technologies in non-Android or non-Chrome devices such as point-and-shoot cameras, DSLRs, music players, photo-frames, BD/DVD players, TV sets and dozen of other things that Samsung sells.
“Those crisp $1 billion bills are not just for the Android powered devices, right? Samsung does a lot of thing, in 2013 the company raked in over $54.95 billion in revenues. Only half of that revenue came from the IT and mobile division.”
Finally, adds Bhartiya: “It’s not a one way traffic. Microsoft also pays Samsung annual royalty for using Samsung’s patented technologies and this amount it credited against the amount Samsung pays to Microsoft.”
Yes, this is an old trick. Microsoft still uses it to flood the press with lies (or half-truths), which its booster are just too happy to spread. It’s like a tumbleweed of lies and it gathers momentum. Soon enough the lies become the equivalent of a reality; it’s an attempt to induce surrender. It’s an attempt at self-fulfilling prophecies. The time seemed right for Microsoft because it fights with Samsung in the courtroom. Microsoft knows it might lose and the defendant is the biggest possible target because Samsung sells the lion’s share of Android-powered phones.
A group established to shield Linux from patent trolls has warned OpenStack will be the next big target for intellectual property hoarders.
The Open Invention Network (OIN) reckons the open-source cloud is ripe for the plucking by trolls, who would easily be able to box off and claim core technologies as their own.
That would see developers and customers using OpenStack forced to hand over fistfuls of cash in royalties – following either cases or, more likely, closed-door deals that avoid the expense of court.
This may be a legitimised concern, but Clarke does not name Microsoft’s own behaviour. By these standards, Microsoft too is a troll, not just by proxy. In fact, Microsoft is perhaps the biggest threat here.
As a side note, Techrights is under DDOS attack )since yesterday). The attacks are all coming from Windows NT (various versions) machines and they are hammering on the site, sometimes to the point where the site is no longer available. This seems to have spread from Tux Machines, so these attacks are clearly personal. This was done to us also 5 years ago (see the report “Burying the truth? Boycott Novell hit by Denial of Service attack”). █
Summary: Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling
Microsoft’s cofounder is now a patent troll and his trolling activity resumes in the US. As Reuters very recently put it: “A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday revived part of a patent lawsuit brought by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen against AOL, Apple, Google and Yahoo, saying a lower court incorrectly found that the tech companies didn’t infringe one of its patents.
“The patent, held by Allen’s Interval Licensing, relates to the ubiquitous pop-ups that computer users routinely see while surfing the Web or shopping online.
“The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that Chief Judge Marsha Pechman of the federal district court in Seattle had made an “erroneous” interpretation of the patent in 2013 and it sent the case back to her for further hearings.”
Allen has also targeted Android and Microsoft produces patent trolls other than Allen (IV, Interval, Gates et al.) who tend to target Free software and Microsoft rivals such as Google.
Alice is killing the trolls — but expect patent lawyers to strike back
Open source software developers rejoice: Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is fast becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the United States.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles all appeals for patent cases in the United States, has often been criticized for its handling of these cases — Techdirt describes it as “the rogue patent court, captured by the patent bar.” But following the Alice decision, the Court of Appeals seems to have changed.
The Court of Appeals will be the subject of our next post. █
Apple just hit a stumbling block in its second U.S. patent infringement case against Samsung thanks to a Patent and Trademark Office ruling that rejects some of the iPhone and iPad maker’s claims. The ruling targeted the summary judgement Federal Judge Lucy Koh issued ahead of Apple and Samsung’s trial this spring, and relates to infringement claims for Apple’s autocomplete patent.
Now that Android commands the lion’s share of the key market (85% of all sales, according to one source) all that Apple can do is lie and rely on trolls who claim “Apple’s resurgence” for some hits/clicks bait. Here is a new example:
In recent weeks, a drumbeat has grown among tech analysts that Apple’s iPhone is poised for massive uptake while Android smartphone sales may have peaked in developed nations. Also, Android is threatened in the developing world from a Google creation called AOSP, which strips out Google’s services (where Google makes its money) and lets any device maker avoid paying Google service royalties. This is especially significant in China, the world’s biggest emerging market, where AOSP is the top-selling mobile OS and which accounts for 20 percent or more of global “Android” sales. At the same time, various analysts have noted that Samsung is being squeezed by both Apple and AOSP, and Samsung may have already peaked in mobile, with 2012′s Galaxy S III representing the high point.
This is all speculative mambo-jumbo bearing the headline “Android has good reason to fear Apple’s resurgence”. Thankfully there is already a rebuttal to this, which says:
Partisan holy wars are part of the history of technology, and there have been few as bitter as Android versus Apple. While Android has had an amazing run of success over the last few years, some analysts are beginning to think that an Apple resurgence is at hand that could do serious damage to Android.
However, I also understand the need for a horse race in the media. Writers are under pressure to deliver traffic and page views, and a platform battle between Google and Apple certainly offers articles with compelling clickability for readers. And many analysts simply seem to go whichever way they think the wind is blowing without looking deeper into what’s actually happening.
Just remember that a lot of these analysts probably predicted Apple’s doom over the last few years, and now they’ve switched to predicting Android’s doom. So take everything they say with a gigantic grain of salt. I’m sure they’ll flip back over to the other side at some point in the future if they think it will get them attention, clicks and traffic.
Apple is not doing well and even people inside Apple (or fans of Apple) know this. The recent revelations about iOS back doors, the China ‘ban’, etc. are just some of the symptoms and contributing factors/causes. Hopefully, as Apple continues to lose market share, its ability to just sue with patents (frivolously) is going to diminish and the same goes for Microsoft, which is doing what Apple did a couple of years ago (suing Samsung with crappy software patents). █
Summary: The narrative put forth by CCIA, a Microsoft-funded front group, continues to present the patent debate as revolving around the size of extortionists rather than methods and the scope of patents
Michelle Lee, in the mean time, is being approached regarding changes in the USPTO. The other day we noticed that CCIA, somewhat of a Brussels- and Washington DC-based lobby group that’s open for corporations to join and does not reveal all of its corporate members and their relative contributions (Microsoft is among those who pay and its head, Ed Black, received millions of dollars from Microsoft), contacted Lee. Knowing that CCIA is clearly not a public interest group but a corporate front, representing the interests of very large corporations, we needed to check what was said to Lee. CCIA had received a lot of money from Microsoft and in recent years promoted Microsoft interests. In last week’s article at The Hill we found that “The Supreme Court’s decision to toss out some software patents earlier this year led to a swift change of operations at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), the agency’s deputy director said on Wednesday.
“Michelle Lee told the House Judiciary subcommittee on Intellectual Property that the high court’s June decision caused an immediate flurry of activity.
“It does affect the examination of cases before us and as soon as the ruling came down we were in a position at the PTO where we had to offer guidance to our examiners,” she told lawmakers.’
The site called “Patent Progress”, which is run by CCIA's Matt Levy, hardly told Lee about ‘patent quality’ and instead focused on patent trolls (not even referring to them as such, usually alluding to them as “PAEs”). Lee, the Deputy Director of the USPTO, received this text:
The patent system plays an important role in promoting innovation in the United States. Patents encourage investment in R&D and facilitate technology transfer. But when patent assertion entities (PAEs), commonly called patent trolls, exploit low-quality patents to extort payments from America’s most productive companies and job providers, they harm innovation and the very purpose of the patent system. The solution to this problem is two pronged: the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) must improve the quality of the patents it issues, and Congress must pass patent reform legislation so that PAEs cannot leverage the high cost of litigation as a weapon against economic growth.
Ed Black signed this letter. Remember how much money he received from Microsoft. Not too shockingly, software patents are not even mentioned.
Ali Sternburg, writing in the same blog amid minor updates, said that “CCIA filed comments with the PTO on guidelines after Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank.”
As the case was mostly about scope, why bother focusing on trolls at all?
On the brighter side of things, software patents did get mentioned as “computer-implemented inventions” (CII), which is a term some patent lawyers prefer to use (it’s a loaded term). Here is the relevant part: “Unfortunately, patents claiming computer-implemented inventions frequently have unclear boundaries. This is largely because, to date, some patents have been allowed to issue without much more than a description and recitation in the claims of an abstract idea implemented on a conventional computer system. The Alice decision makes clear that this practice is not consistent with 35 U.S.C. § 101, because such patent claims preempt all practical implementations of the abstract idea and stifle innovation. Further, the public notice function is best served by clear claims and a thorough prosecution history explaining the examiner’s understanding of those claims, as well as express statements by the applicant regarding the meaning of the claims. Computer-implemented inventions are too often patented using ambiguous, vague, or overbroad language. When such poor quality patents issue, they can become weapons in the hands of patent assertion entities, which currently drain billions of dollars a year from U.S. businesses.
“Accordingly, CCIA believes that it is critical for both the examiner and the patent applicant to create a clear prosecution history. In the context of § 101 rejections, the examiner should provide more than a conclusory rejection. Rather, any rejection should identify the abstract idea to which the claim is directed. Further, such a rejection should explain the examiner’s understanding of the claim’s scope, including why the combination of claim elements do not add “significantly more” to the abstract idea, either expressly or through interpretation under 35 U.S.C. § 112(f). This analysis should include an explanation of whether a claim qualifies as a “means-plus-function” claim under section 112(f) and why or why not.”
Well, “poor quality patents” not only “can become weapons in the hands of patent assertion entities” (to quote the above); it is often misused by large companies too, like the companies which are funding CCIA. Here is a new example of a small troll: “Personal Audio LLC is an East Texas shell company that gleaned national attention when it claimed it had the right to demand cash from every podcaster. The company was wielding a patent on “episodic content,” which it said included anyone doing a podcast, as well as many types of online video.”
Today in the news we have many articles about a much bigger troll: Microsoft. Here is an article which says: “Alleging that the company is being stiffed by Samsung, Microsoft turns to the courts.”
The BBC rightly points out that “[t]he case marks the first time that Microsoft has launched legal action against Samsung.
“The two companies have a long-running partnership, due to the Asian manufacturer’s sale of Windows PCs and Windows Phone handsets.”
This is why it’s a misguided move by Microsoft; it is likely to alienate Microsoft even further. Perhaps CCIA should stop promoting this narrative where only trolls are the problem and focus again on showing abuses by Microsoft, which is using software patents to abuse its competition or pressure companies to adopt Microsoft Windows rather than the competition (notably GNU/Linux, ChromeOS, Android, and so on). █